Combining Broadmoor & Bucks: Award nominee Adam says apprenticeship means he's finally doing something he loves

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Date: 7th Nov 2018

From Sainsbury’s, to Broadmoor, to Bucks New University…Adam Cramp

It’s an interesting route that has lead 27-year-old Adam Cramp to following his dream of becoming a mental health nurse and being nominated for Apprentice of the Year.

Skills for Health’s ‘Our Health Heroes Awards’ are a celebration of the healthcare workforce, whether they are support workers, apprentices, integrated teams or workforce planners. Voting is currently underway, with winners being announced on 23 November.

Adam, who lives in Bracknell, works at West London NHS Trust's Broadmoor Hospital and is part of Bucks New University’s first nursing apprenticeship cohort, studying for a BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health).

Here he tells us about his fascinating journey back into education.

So Adam, where did it all begin?

Growing up I think I had similar aspirations as many young kids, to be an astronaut or fire-fighter!

I attended secondary school at Sir William Ramsay School, in High Wycombe and then moved on to 6th form but had to drop out due to living arrangements.

After leaving 6th form I found work in the local Sainsbury’s and was doing well there, but it got to a stage where I knew it was not for me and needed to find something different.

I was told about positions going at Broadmoor Hospital in the security and reception department and decided to apply. I worked for around 11 months in reception before moving over to the wards.

I worked on various wards within the hospital, and after my first shift I knew that this is something I could see myself doing. I have now worked on Sandhurst ward for around three months and completed nine months on one of the High Dependency wards within Broadmoor.

How did the nursing apprenticeship come about?

When the ward had a new manager she sat with all of the staff as a “get to know you” piece, and asked what our aspirations for the future were.

At the time I knew that the trust was offering different training and development opportunities for Nursing Associates and Assistant Practitioners. I knew that I would want to develop further and held out for a course to develop into a nurse.

Then one day I saw it pop up on our Trust’s Intranet, applied, went through the selection process and was successful.

Personally, what are the benefits of an apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship offers me a lot of security. It means that I am able to train in something I am really passionate about, whilst not having the financial worries that come with being a mature student.  Being that little bit older than most ‘normal’ students, I have got financial commitments and needed something where I knew I would have money coming in at the end of the month.

Also I think being an apprentice and still working gives me more opportunity to learn. When I am back at Broadmoor, now I am able to take on more responsibility and continue my learning when I am not on placement.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love spending time sitting and chatting with the patients. On my current ward we have the most beautiful garden, so I love being out there with patients; whether it be sitting down and just watching the day pass, or having a walk around and listening to the patients concerns, worries or anxieties.

What is the university experience like on the apprentice programme, both academically and socially?

I love my time at university. I find the lectures and seminars engaging, and the lecturers teaching them are fantastic and offer so much support. I have made many new friends since starting this course, and believe that they will stay with me through life.

Due to the set-up of the course we have some lectures with the other nursing students so we are able to share our different experiences, knowledge and insight with each other which often brings very active discussions!

How have you found the experience of balancing work, study and life?

I always thought that this would be one area that I would have difficulty in, but have found it manageable so far. The workload is intense between uni, placement and our host ward but our time is clearly defined so I am able to separate from one place to another.

If you ask some of my fellow students they will probably tell you I spend too much time in the pub! But we all need downtime and my work is always complete and I strive for the highest standards possible.

What kind of support do you receive as an apprentice?

The support I receive from both Broadmoor Hospital and Bucks is phenomenal. The staff at the university are incredibly experienced and understanding, they are masters in the field, any problems and they will do anything they can to help and support us. The trust have also been equally as supportive, they have given us the chance for continued development throughout our course. They have listened to our feedback and have responded well to this.

Where do you see your career going in the future?

This is something that is often asked, and I never really know how to answer.  There are so many options out there once I qualify, so the world is my oyster. I am really excited that I will be part of a generation of mental health nurses where there has been more of a spotlight on mental health, and to see which direction the services go.

Do you know who nominated you and how did you feel when you found out?

I do, it initially came from Chris McKay who was the matron from my first placement. He then got in touch with Ali Webster who is the Assistant Director of Workforce for the trust who compiled a nomination with input from Chris and the two managers I have had at Broadmoor, Marcia Tharp and Julie Spence.

When I saw the email saying I was nominated I was shocked, and then reading the full nomination and what had been written I was completely blown away and humbled. It was an amazing feeling to have this kind of recognition and to have the affirmation that I am doing what I should be!

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